Germany: Renewables beat coal for the first time


In the first half of 2018, renewable energies accounted for a higher share of German gross electricity generation, for the first time beating coal-fired and lignite-fired power stations.

Nearly 118 billion kWh have been generated by PV, wind other renewable energy plants in the period, according to Germany’s Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). This is an increase of more than 10% over the previous year.

The share of renewables in the gross electricity consumption is, according to BDEW, around 36.3%, while in the previous year, it was 32.5%. Compared to the first half of 2017, total generation fell from 328.5 kWh, to 324.6 billion kWh.

Furthermore, BDEW reports that, in the first six months of this year, PV achieved a share of 7.3%, which is 0.6% up from the first half of 2017. The leader among renewables, however, still remains wind power.

Onshore wind farms accounted for 14.7% of gross electricity generation in the first half of the year – an increase from 12.5% in the same period of the previous year. In contrast, the proportion of offshore wind power increased only slightly, from 2.7% to 2.9%.

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Biomass continues to rank third. After providing a percentage of 6.9% in the first six months of 2017, it now contributed 7.1% to gross electricity generation. The share of hydropower also rose slightly to 3.3%.

According to preliminary BDEW estimates, power generation from brown and hard coal fired power plants was down at 114 billion kWh in the first half of the year. Lignite comprised 22.5%, and hard coal, 12.6% in the gross electricity production.

The contribution of gas-fired power plants also declined – from 44%, to less than 40 billion kWh. Nuclear power plants, meanwhile, came to 11.3%, thus achieving a higher share than a year before. In the first half of the year, it was 10.2%

“These figures prove impressively that the market-driven, gradual phasing out of coal-fired power generation is already in full swing,” said Stefan Kapferer, Chairman of the BDEW Executive Board. “Renewables are on the rise. What is more urgently needed than ever is an acceleration of grid expansion in order to integrate the renewables into the energy system.”

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